The Duke Blue Devils could not hit the broad side of a barn in Madison Square Garden. In fact Duke did not hit a 3 point shot in the first half of their MSG debut and only 3 in the second half. The problem for Duke was that they didn’t shoot that well from 2 point range either.
What did Duke do well in their 69-58 win against the Texas Tech Red Raiders was defend. The Blue Devils turned the Red Raiders over 24 times and held the Red Raiders to 38.6% from the field. Duke spent most of the second half watching their shots rattle out when they were able to actually get shots up and watching the referee whistle them for charges most of the other times. Texas Tech came in with a reputation for taking away the middle and with that came an inordinate amount of charges in the game – some good, some bad but all were costly and took Duke out of rhythm. Luckily for the Blue Devils – they had a not so secret weapon in freshman Tre Jones. Jones defensively was the factor for Duke in staying with the Red Raiders. Jones’ 6 steals acted as the triggers for easy buckets for Duke and without his herculean efforts defensively, his 5 assists and 13 points Duke could not have been in position to strike late in the second half.
As good as Duke has looked this season the player that impressed the most was in a red and black uniform. Jarrett Culver was sensational for Texas Tech and played like a future first round draft pick scoring 25 points, adding 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Culver was the only player for the Red Raiders who scored in double figures scoring nearly half of their 58 points.
Duke would use a run with under 7 minutes left in the game. With the score tied 53 to 53 Duke used a 16 to 5 run to seal the game.
Zion Williamson led the Blue Devils in scoring with 17 points despite being hampered with foul trouble and playing only 25 minutes in the game. R.J. Barrett, struggled the entire night but hit big buckets down the stretch during Dukes run in the waning minutes of the game. Barrett finished with 16 points. Next up for Duke is Clemson and the beginning of the ACC season.